All Blacks crush France

New Zealand made their biggest statement yet about the upcoming Rugby World Cup with a 47-3 demolition of France in Paris.

    Conrad Smith cleared for launch

    The All Blacks were at their scintillating best as they made a mockery of the pre-match billing as a match between the two best rugby nations in the world.

    Making ten changes to the side that taught England a rugby lesson last week Graham Henry's side scored seven tries in this week's master class.

    Man of the match Jerry Collins admitting his side already had an eye on returning to France next year.

    Sitiveni Sivivatu scores

    "At this stage of the season, we are all looking to the World Cup next year and it's important to see what the young players can do," said the impressive flanker.
    "The rain and conditions were atrocious and France tried to play.

    "But we played well. We made more of our opportunities and got the ball to stick."

    Pumas pounce

    In London, England coach Andy Robinson insisted on Saturday that he will not quit despite his team slumping to an embarrassing 25-18 defeat to Argentina.

    The current world champions' equalled their worst ever run with their seventh straight defeat.

    Puma party

    "I intend to still be the coach for the match against South Africa next week," said Robinson.
    "I expect the Rugby Football Union (RFU) to stand by me.
    "There'll be discussions as always and a debrief of the last two matches (England's 41-20 loss to New Zealand last weekend was their biggest margin of defeat at Twickenham) with the senior management.”

    The Pumas' replacement centre Federico Todeschini had a personal tally of 22 points after he scored his side’s only try and kicked the conversion and five penalties.

    Ireland reign

    Ireland, who would have already been celebrating England's loss also had further to cheer when their side defeated South Africa 32-15 to record only their third win in 18 matches over the Springboks.

    Tries by outstanding youngster Andrew Trimble, David Wallace and Marcus Horan gave the Irish a deserved 22-3 lead at the interval.

    Although the inexperienced visitors hit back with tries by debutant Francois Steyn and Bryan Habana, the Irish ended with a try from Shane Horgan to celebrate a win which came almost 100 years to the day since the sides first met.

    Shane Horgan crosses for the Irish

    "I'm very happy with the win and the level of performance," said Ireland coach Eddie O'Sullivan.
    "We dominated the game with and without the ball and controlled the pace when we needed to. We put a lot of work into this match and when you score four tries against South Africa you have to be happy.”  
    In other matches Scotland trounced Romania 48-6, Australia defeated Italy in Rome 25-18 and Wales accounted for the Pacific Islanders 38-20 in Cardiff.



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